Cut Finger with Knife: What to Do

Injuries while using a sharp knife are very common. These types of injuries can occur in everyday life, like while preparing food in the kitchen, crafting and doing hobbies. Most of these cuts on the fingers usually don’t require medical attention and can be treated easily at home. However, if the cut is very deep, the bleeding doesn’t stop or if there is something lodged into the wound, you will require medical attention to prevent any complications.

What to Do After I Cut My Finger with a Knife

A cut finger with knife is an opening for bacteria to enter and infect the wound. Therefore, you should keep the wound clean by washing your hands before you handle the cut. Minimize touching the wound with the other hand by wearing disposable medical gloves, if you have any. Then follow the steps below to handle the cut:

  1. Apply pressure to the cut as soon as possible to minimize blood loss.
  2. You can elevate your affected hand above the level of your heart to slow down the bleeding.
  3. Applying a cold compress as soon as bleeding is controlled. This further will slow down bleeding by constricting blood vessels in the area.
  4. Clean the area around the cut with running water. You can use soap to cleanse the area around the cut but avoid getting soap into the cut as it will cause pain and irritation. Dry the area gently with a clean towel.
  5. Remove any foreign objects from the cut, if you can. Sanitize the tweezers with some rubbing alcohol. If you are unable to remove the dirt from the wound, see your doctor. If the cut is very dirty or deep, you may require a tetanus shot.
  6. A wound that is bleeding profusely should be taken care of by a trained medical professional. A deep wound will require stitches to help the healing process.
  7. Usually a mildly bleeding cut will spontaneously stop as the body coagulates the blood in the area. You can apply a clean and sterile dressing to apply gentle pressure onto the cut finger with knife. The dressing will also keep out any bacteria and dirt. Use a waterproof dressing if the finger is being immersed in water. Change the dressing at least daily or if the dressing becomes wet and dirty.
  8. Some people believe that avoiding topical application of any creams or ointments onto the cut as they don’t allow the wound to dry and heal. Whilst others recommend applying antimicrobial to the cut which will help prevent the dressing from getting stuck onto the healing wound. Once the wound has started healing, it is better to leave it exposed to air to accelerate the healing.
  9. In cases of extreme pain, you may take an over-the-counter painkiller. However, avoid aspirin as it will hinder the clotting of blood at the wound site.

 When to See a Doctor

  • The bleeding doesn’t stop after 10 minutes or if the wound is spurting blood.
  • The cut is deep and long-you may need stitches.
  • There is something stuck in the wound that you cannot remove yourself.
  • You become dizzy.
  • The wound becomes red, painful and you develop a fever. The wound may become infected and you may require antibiotics.
  • You experience a loss of sensation or mobility in the affected finger.
  • The cut is not healing properly.

 Tips for Healing a Knife Cut on the Finger

Skin healing after a cut finger with knife occurs depending upon the individual, the size and depth of the wound. If the cut is in a crease, the healing would be delayed since the skin is being constantly moved. Uncomplicated, minor cuts on the finger usually take about one week to heal completely. There are a few factors you can remember to maximize healing:

  • Depending on the size of the wound, ensure you use the correct method of wound closure, i.e. stitches, steri-strips, skin adhesive or regular bandages.
  • Keep the wound infection-free. Infections slow down the healing process.
  • There are some commercially available products containing herbs that can accelerate wound healing and fight infection, like Echinacea and St John’s wort. Get medical advice before you make a choice to use these natural products.
  • Position of the cut will dictate how long it takes to heal. Sensitive or areas that move will require more time to heal, e.g. skin around the knuckle of the finger.
  • Some medicines can interfere with wound healing, like anticlotting drugs.
  • It has been shown that high levels of stress can affect wound healing time.
  • Alcohol and smoking have both shown delayed wound healing and can increase the incidence of infection.
  • Poor nutrition can also impede wound healing because the body requires special nutrients to heal the cut. Vitamin C plays a crucial role in tissue repair, vitamin A is important in fighting infection and Vitamin E decreases the excess scar formation after a cut finger with knife.
  • Medical conditions like obesity, diabetes and others that affect blood circulation can also slow down the body’s healing process.
  • Wound healing in older people takes longer than in a younger person. 
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